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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


Maureen Nelson

 Thursday, March 17, 2010, 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST,  6 pm Zurich, 7 pm Istanbul

Coaching Clients To Write Their Way into a Job

Learn how to leverage the written word in your career and help clients do the same — even if you’re not a writer! With 20 years of publishing experience before becoming a career counselor, Maureen brings a wealth of  writing, editing, design, and marketing experience to her practice. She will discuss how to go beyond the resume to communicate value an employer or a client. Covering networking and prospecting emails, social media writing such as Linked In profiles, portfolios of work samples, alternatives to resumes, such as the T-letter, and how just a few pages can draw in clients on a website, this interview will be jam-packed with ideas and examples.


Maureen Nelson is manager of Adult Career Services at the Oakland Private Industry Council in Oakland, CA. She co-authored the second edition of Getting Your Ideal Internship and has been a writer on career and management topics for over a decade. Working for three years as a freelance writer for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, she covered web technology and design when it was in its infancy. She interviewed everyone from early bloggers like Derek Powazek (award-winning designer of the {fray}), to David Siegel (author of Creating Killer Websites), to Craig Newmark of Craigslist.com.

Maureen has been profiled in the online publication Write Success and serves as field editor for Career Convergence, where she was named “Author with the Most Impact (Grad Student)” in 2008. She runs a career coaching practice in Walnut Creek, CA, where she helps clients not only write resumes but create high-impact documents of all types. (Her own resume appears in Susan Ireland’s Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume.) Maureen holds an M.A. in Career Development from John F. Kennedy University, and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal State East Bay.


Maureen Nelson, M.A., GCDF, CPRW ~  (925) 708-7476
Skype: maureenpnelson ~ Twitter: @maureencareer

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Quiz: What Kind of Writer Are You?

1. In high school, people thought you were good in:

a. Math / art / science

b. Foreign language / business

c. English / history

2. A friend asks you to introduce him to someone you know who works at a company he’s targeting. You:

a. Pick up the phone – it’s direct
b. Write a quick email to the target person, asking permission to share information; follow up by giving target’s email to friend
c. Write a nice email to both, introducing them to each other, telling each a little about the other’s background, with an admonishment to “Talk amongst yourselves” at the end

3. You’re applying for a job that’s pretty different from most of the jobs you’ve been applying for recently. You:

a. Customize the cover letter a little but use your standard resume; after all, your skills are the same no matter what you’re applying for

b. Customize the cover letter and change the targeted job title, profile paragraph (or summary of qualifications) to better match the job

c. Customize the cover letter and first page of your resume, adding a 3-column bulleted list of areas of expertise that will help the employer see that you have the skills in their area even though you don’t have the experience; sure, it takes a little more time, but you’ve been thinking about changing your resume anyway to see if you get a better response

4. You’ve decided to incorporate social media into your job search. You start by:

a. Registering for Twitter so you can follow a few leaders in your field

b. Creating Linked In and Facebook profiles and linking to a few people

c. Starting a blog you intend to feature on your resume

5. You’ve begun getting interviews, but no offers yet, so you pull together a portfolio to show off to employers. It contains:

a. Letters of recommendations and certificates, plus some photos of you volunteering

b. The above, plus past performance reviews and an article you wrote

c. The above, plus a couple of articles you’ve written, workshop evaluations and some writing awards

6. Congratulations! You’re hired! Your boss asks you to be on the team to create and present the annual report. You:

a. Volunteer to present the report

b. Volunteer to research and gather the information that goes into the report

c. Volunteer to write and edit the report

7. You are coming up for a performance review. You:

a. Don’t prepare much; your work speaks for itself and you know the right words will come to you when you need them

b. Bring a few notes on what you’ve done in the past year and have in mind the raise you’re hoping to get

c. Bring a one-page list of projects you’ve completed in the past year, compiled from the daily, weekly and monthly achievement journal you’ve kept; a one-page list of quotes from colleagues and customers about your wonderful work; also bring salary research to prove that you’re not being paid the market rate; you intend to ask for the big raise you deserve

8. You start a consulting business, setting up a website and getting some business cards. To market yourself further, you plan to:

a. Get some speaking gigs — you’ll pitch to audiences of potential clients

b. Go to some chamber events — you love to schmooze!

c. Write some articles — it’s the best way to set yourself up as an expert

9. You’re outraged by a current event. Your impulse is to:

a. Tweet about it; lead a protest

b. Blog about it; attend a protest

c. Write a letter to the editor of the local paper, hoping it gets published

10. You’re a career coach and a client asks for help with his/her resume. You:

a. Send him/her to a resume writer you use, mentally spending the referral fee

b. Review the resume with him/her, making suggestions on how he/she could modify it to make it more effective

c. Tell him/her that you’d be happy to write his/her resume and cover letter; cash, check or charge?


Answers To Quiz

If you chose mostly a’s, you’re a Utilitarian Writer

You prefer face-to-face communication over the written word. You’re likely to be at ease in front of large audiences and think well on your feet. If your writing could use some polish, consider taking a class. If you’re in job hunt mode, study resume books and resolve to put a little more care into targeting your resume. Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you can still harness the written word to support your career. For instance, if you’re a subject matter expert, team up with a writer to produce a few articles or even an ebook. Or, get articles written about you by contacting journalists who are seeking sources to quote. A good resource is HARO (Help A Reporter Out).

If you chose mostly b’s, you’re a Broad Communicator

You have some good writing skills, but writing’s not your main strength. You don’t mind speaking to small groups, but don’t jump at the chance to wow the masses. You’re probably a good all-around communicator. If you want to do more writing to help boost your career, know that it’s easier to break into online writing than print. Either start your own blog or write a few guest pieces on blogs that rely on crowdsourcing for content. (CaliCareer is one.) When you read a well-written article, ask yourself what made it good and incorporate the writer’s techniques into your own work. To get better, write frequently and revise, revise, revise.

If you chose mostly c’s, you’re a Natural Writer

You’ve probably been told from an early age that you’re a good writer. (It may or may not come easily, but you can do it and do it well.) Continue using your writing to raise your visibility by blogging, writing an ebook, a regular column, or entering writing competitions. If you’re an entrepreneur, make sure the marketing brochures and website content for your business are the best they can be. Consider making money from your talent by ghostwriting, writing executive bios, annual reports or any of a number of communication pieces that corporations need. Keep up the good work!

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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
National Career Development Association Articles
My First Job: Employment Specialist at Goodwill - By Maureen Nelson
A young man paced in my doorway. Looking down, he said, "Goodwill saved my life.... I'm 31 years old and this is the first job I've ever had.... I spent my life hustling.... I'm the first person in my family to have a job." After getti...
Working with Foster Youth: An Interview with Alfred Arroyos - By Maureen Nelson
Marcos, a lean 17-year-old in jeans and t-shirt, is hanging out with his friends by a mall one Saturday morning. The group is a mix of races: one Latino, one Caucasian and two African American - about the same ratio of ethnicities of all foster...
Relationships: The Critical Enhancement to Systems Thinking in Organizations - By Maureen Nelson
In the first part of this article, "Sy...

Systems Thinking in Organizational Career Development Programs  - By Maureen Nelson
Career development for employees is not new. In 1993, Shore stated, "Organizational career development" has emerged as a competitive strategy for enhancing organizational effectiveness through a well-developed work...

 Creative Assessments: Using Non-Traditional Methods to Uncover Clients' Hidden Dreams - by Maureen Nelson
Lily [not her real name] came for career counseling when she was at a crossroads in her life. A first-generation American of Chinese immigrant parents, she appeared to have achieved the American Dream: a successful career as an intellectual prope...

Springboard Forward: Engagement, Self-Efficacy and Hope - by Maureen Nelson
Deanna works the dining halls at Stanford University. She is bored with her job and is thinking of quitting. Previously, Deanna worked as a hotel reception clerk, as a barista and as a cleaning lady. She is frustrated and feels like she...

MORE...Click on www.NCDA.org and Search for Maureen Nelson.

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Opening Instructions for Listeners

Before we begin, here are a few instructions for listeners:

  •  If you have a question, press 5* on your phone.
  • Directly after the interview, be sure to fill out the evaluation linked to your call-in instructions, especially if you want to earn CEUs. 
  • Please register at least 24 - 48 hours before the interview so we have time to send out the call-in information.
  • If you'd like to listen to more of these tele-interviews, and your organization is not currently a subscriber, contact me with someone I can talk with about subscribing your organization so you can listen for free (except for the cost of your distance provider). Email info@ careerwell.org or call 415.312.4294.

This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews. Our guest today, Maureen Nelson, is manager of Adult Career Services at the Oakland Private Industry Council and co-site manager of the Downtown One Stop Career Center in Oakland, CA.  She co-authored the WetFeet guide, Getting Your Ideal Internship,  and has been a writer on career and management topics for over a decade. Maureen has been profiled in the online publication Write Success and serves as Editor-at-Large for the National Career Development Association's Career Convergence, where she was named Author with the Most Impact in 2008. Maureen, welcome.  You've made a splash in the career development field in many ways.  Your name seems to come up every day in my email in box.  In this interview, I'd like to hear what you do (and what you suggest listeners and our clients do) to get our word out.


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Interview Questions

1. How did you get interested in writing for individuals who want to further their career?

2. What are the six ways that you suggest to get your resume in shape?

3. What can you write as alternatives to resumes?

4. What can you write as Addenda to your resume?

5. What do you suggest a job seeker should write in Social Media?

6. What should be included in one's Portfolio?

7. How and why should one write for the press?

  • See SLIDE 10 in powerpoint
  • Download Stephanie Chandler's handouts on her Careerwell Web Page.

8. What if you can't write?

  • See SLIDE 12 in powerpoint

9. How can you boost your career using other people's writing?

10. How can you use the Internet to boost your marketing efforts?

  • See SLIDE 14 in powerpoint

11. Any special advice for executives?

  • See SLIDE 15 in powerpoint

12. What kinds of writing jobs are out there for those who can write?

  • See SLIDE 17 in powerpoint

13. How can listeners reach you if they have more questions?

  • See SLIDE 18 in powerpoint

14. What are your writing aspirations? Are you planning to write a book?

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Thank you Maureen, for expanding our knowledge (and confidence) to get our word out.

Upcoming Tele-Interviews

Next week, on March 24, John Merris-Coots, Director of the California Career Resource Network, California's career information website, will talk about how to provide career guidance in the schools. By the way, CalCRN has endorsed the SPARC Support Personnel Acountability Report Card, that last week's speaker, Bob Tyra, discussed.

  • For a glimpse of April tele-interviews, on April 7 I shall be interviewing Ken Keis, who will talk about personal style and values.  He just came out with a new book on "Why Aren't You More LIke Me?"
  • On April 14, Fred Mandell, author of Becoming a Life Change Artist, will tell us what famous artists have to teach us about reinventing our lives.
  • Then, on April 28, in prep for Mother's Day, California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and her daughter Amy Critchett, will discuss mother-daughter influences on lifework success.

Until next week, this is Dr. Sally Gelardin, with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.

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